Wednesday, June 03, 2020 

Rick Remender doesn't want Trump supporters to buy his work

The comics writer Remender posted a few anti-Trump tweets of recent, and while Bounding Into Comics brought them up, he apparently erased them soon after. But anyway, here's what he said on May 30:
If you still support this president it’s okay if you unfollow me and stop supporting my work. I’d prefer it.
So lose money at a time when the Coronavirus is putting so many people on the unemployment line, oh well. The following item he wrote is much more vile, though:
I’m so fucking done with having people threaten my career if I express an opinion. Take your money and shove it up your ass.
And I'm tired of creators resorting to repellent profanity to make their point. Either you want an audience or you don't for your books. Authors who can't avoid being politically contentious aren't fit to work in the field. Remender soon met with disagreement over his statements, and as noted, he later erased them. He could've avoided spouting off politically charged idiocy, and didn't. Alas, this is unlikely to serve as a lesson why it's better for authors to keep quiet about their politics.

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Will Sliney designs corona masks for Easyjet

Sky News reports the comics artist Will Sliney, who's from Ireland, has designed face masks with illustrations of animals to be given to children flying on Easyjet:
A Marvel comics artist has designed "superhero" face mask covers for children flying with easyJet.

The move aims to help youngsters feel more relaxed on journeys after the airline resumes flights later this month with strict safety protocols in place for passengers and crew to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The face mask covers have been created by Irish illustrator Will Sliney, who has worked on Spider-Man and Star Wars comics.

They feature lion and pilot designs, and are to be worn over the top of a young traveller's own face mask.

[...] Captain David Morgan, easyJet's director of flight operations, said: "We have teamed up with a comic illustrator to create some bespoke children's face mask covers as we know the airport environment could feel different and possibly daunting for younger travellers when flying initially resumes."

Sliney added: "Flying with face masks is going to be a new experience for everyone, especially young children, so I hope these fun designs, inspired by comic book characters, help to encourage kids to wear their masks onboard.

"I have used a combination of a lion animal character and a futuristic pilot to create a set of mask covers to bring out the inner superhero in all young flyers."
Good for him if he's taking up such a positive example. Which is more than can be said for some artists stateside.

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Tuesday, June 02, 2020 

What's been conceived during the quarantine just shows how liberal influence is still focus of the MSM

Entertainment Weekly wrote about what the state of the industry could look like following the Covid19 pandemic quarantine:
The coronavirus pandemic has inaugurated a time of chaos and change, for the comic book industry as much as anyone else. Comics culture is centered around specialty comic book stores, which acquire their products from the monopolistic Diamond Comics Distributors — so when Diamond announced back in March it would be shutting down operations as part of widespread government orders, the industry came to a screeching halt.
As pretentious as EW can be for a showbiz magazine, it's incredible they're willing to admit what's wrong with Diamond. Yet they don't comment what a shame it is almost no one ever tried to open a competing distributor. If that had happened, let's not think it wouldn't have been a success, or that it couldn't at least have given the industry an extension on life to keep from collapsing so quickly.
Two months later, things are starting to move again. As restrictions begin to ease across the country, many comic stores are open again for at least limited business. Yet it's hard to imagine that the comics industry will ever fully return to the way it was before the pandemic. The two biggest comics publishers, Marvel and DC, have shifted some of their planned upcoming comics to digital-only releases in a move that at least one comics retailer is taking as a sign that perhaps the single-issue format is not long for this world. Though surely the most recognized incarnation of comics, single issues have very slim profit margins and only limited usefulness; if customers don't pick up an issue within a week or two of its release, they likely never will.

The end of single issues would be a big change for comics, which begs the question of what other big changes might be on the way in the future. Though the past two months have been a trying time for everyone, they also highlighted the importance of alternative ideas for making comics and getting them into the hands of readers. EW interviewed multiple comics creators and publishers about their pandemic-era innovations.
Well how honest of them to admit what's long become apparent, and for years, nobody was interested in modifying. I guess the pandemic is what finally convinced them to acknowledge single issue pamphlets weren't viable in the long run. But what do these comics conceived during the Coronavirus pandemic, some of them digital format, consist of? Here's one example called "Youth":
Comixology is owned by Amazon and mostly functions as an iTunes equivalent for comics. Almost every comic put out by major and minor publishers is available there for a consistent price — typically $3-5 for individual issues and $10-15 for collections — along with periodic sales on select items. But Comixology isn't just a way to access material from DC, Marvel, Image, and the rest. The membership program Comixology Unlimited also grants access to their line of Comixology Originals, digital comics made exclusively for the site. Youth, the latest comic in the line, happened to make its debut earlier this month.

Written by Curt Pires and illustrated by Alex Diotto with colors by Dee Cunniffe, Youth is a new take on adolescent rebellion. It focuses on two queer teenagers in love, Frank and River, who decide to run away from their dead-end job and abusive stepdad. Their grand plans don't last long, however. When their stolen car runs out of gas, the boys find they don't have the money to refuel it, and things take a different direction. Frank and River team up with other rebellious youths and soon find themselves coming down with superpowers.

Youth isn't just radical in its content, however; the book is also innovating in its release format. Unlike most comics, but reminiscent of Ice Cream Man's Quarantine Comix, Youth has been releasing new issues on a weekly basis. The first arc is being described as "season 1," blurring the lines between comics and TV. Helping in that regard is the fact that Youth's TV adaptation is already being developed by Amazon Studios. In an era when TV is the dominant form of entertainment, perhaps the future of comics involves a similarly serialized model of storytelling.

“I pitched lots of places and everyone wanted to tell me how 'important' the book was, but no one wanted to put their money where their mouth was and invest in the book and our approach. No one except for Comixology,” Pires tells EW. “The accessibility of digital is a huge plus. Anyone with a Prime or Comixology Unlimited account can read this for free. That’s tearing down the walls between the readers and the story. It’s time comics moved into the future, and Comixology feels like they’re leading the pack in that regard.”
I think this is more like an admittance the story content and premise aren't very profitable at all. What's so "radical" by now about LGBT storytelling? It's all over the place these days, ditto the whole superpowers premise, hence it's grown old pretty fast. Yet there could be a bit of irony here. If the publishers the writer approached were run by leftists, that shows they're not very dedicated to LGBT propaganda at all, despite what they'd have you think.

At least EW's willing to admit the whole problem with Diamond. But judging from some of the content they're citing in the article, including one by the pretentious Jeff Lemire, that's why they aren't really telling us anything significant at all.

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They allegedly care about George Floyd, but do they also care about the damage done to specialty stores?

For over a week, after a repulsive excuse for a policeman in Minneapolis choked a black man named George Floyd to death, there've been riots that spread over much of the US, accompanied by vandalism and looting. Here's how Marvel and DC responded, as reported by the Newsarama site, which is now merged with Games Radar:
Marvel Comics and DC (as well as DC's sister company Warner Bros.) have expressed solidarity with the black community following protest across the United States over the death of George Floyd.

"We stand against racism. We stand for inclusion," Marvel tweeted Sunday. "We stand with our fellow Black employees, storytellers, creators and the entire Black community. We must unite and speak out."

DC tweeted a relevant passage from 2001's Action Comics #775: "Dreams save us. Dreams lift us up and transform us. And on my soul, I swear... until my dream of a world where dignity, honor and justice becomes the reality we all share - I'll never stop fighting. Ever."
It's fine if they condemn the demonic act of the shoddy policeman who led to all this. I think he should be thrown in a grimy dungeon for subjecting the victim to violence over something so petty as an alleged use of a counterfeit dollar bill. But what do the publishers and other industrialists think of rioters and looters who vandalized Golden Apple Comics in Los Angeles, for example?
Golden Apple Comics has nearly doubled a donation target after the popular Los Angeles spot suffered major damage over the weekend when peaceful protests over the death of George Floyd turned to destruction and looting in Los Angeles.

Golden Apple had windows broken out when looters tried to raid the business. However, they were unable to breach the security bars.

Along with pictures of the destruction, Golden Apple said on social media, "For the record, we support the cause and justice needs to be had, but we do not endorse these acts of vandalism, theft, arson and violence. A better plan needs to be enacted to fix things ASAP."
Another store that fell victim to the fallout is Hi De Ho Comics in Santa Monica:

There was even a store called Crazy Fred's in San Diego's La Mesa district that got invaded. This is very serious. It was bad enough when Covid19 struck (who knows how many of the rioters could've been infected this way and that while they were at it?). Now there's violent vandalism and beatings taking place of helpless pedestrians. If book stores are important, there were even 2 independents in Minneapolis dedicated to sci-fi and mystery that were burned down, and who knows how many comics-related items could've gone with them? Even black business owners' stores fell victim to the violence. I'm wondering whether this is a concern to the elitists?

If there's anybody in the comics commentary business who's taking this all way too far, it's Heidi MacDonald at Comics Beat, who posted the following insult to the intellect, which even endorses a book denigrating the whole idea of Captain America:
Obviously there’s a lot going on in the world right now, most of it pretty awful. I’ve rounded up a few news items below stemming from the murder of George Floyd and the resulting protests as they affect the comics industry. There’s doubtless more and we’ll report more later. But just to be clear: the ongoing, longstanding and institutional racial injustice in America is intolerable to anyone who believes in human dignity. Or really, the idea of America as a place of fairness and opportunity. Not that that has ever been true, but a lot of people like to believe in it. Anyway to give this a comics spin, I’d recommend that you read Truth: Red, White and Black by the late Robert Morales and Kyle Baker. It’s long out of print and can never be reprinted, but if you ever find a copy…it’s very good.

Also, do not give me any #AllLivesMatter shit. I’ll let Randy Orton explain why.
The professional wrestler she quotes further down the list says all lives can't matter until black lives do. *Ahem* Does that mean whites, Asians and Latinos can all suffer to hell in a handbasket unquestioned until the the validity of black society is recognized? This is plain madness. All that aside, how fascinating MacDonald's recommending a book that bashes Jack Kirby and Joe Simon's memories, delegitimizes their co-creation Captain America and the ideals he was built upon for a story alleging the US military was exploiting blacks as guinea pigs for super-serum experiments, all in a story where the artwork was alarmingly cartoonish and stereotypical in its depiction of blacks, which dampens the impact of the issues in focus. Artist Kyle Baker may be black himself, but that doesn't make it any more legitimate than it would be if a Jewish artist were to draw Jewish protagonists with stereotypical features like hook noses. If the Truth: Red, White & Black miniseries hasn't been reprinted for years, there's valid reason. Who in the right frame of mind would want to waste time and money on a miniseries whose worst fault is surely the unserious artwork, probably worse than the denigration of Cap as an icon? But if MacDonald believes what she spews, does she recognize that Roosevelt was a Democrat and a leftist leading the government during WW2, and that people of his standing contributed quite a bit to the racial atmosphere of the times? This is precisely what liberals like her inexplicably ignore.

This is exactly why I've long realized MacDonald cannot be taken at face value, cannot possibly be a Captain America fan, let alone a Kirby/Simon/Lee fan, and has no business working in comics. At worst, she's an ingrate, and she apparently buys into the notion racism in the USA is entirely institutional with no way out, and doesn't believe there's any room for fairness and opportunity. I'm not believing anything she says, that's it. The time's come for her to kindly make a grand exit from the industry and quit insulting our intellects, along with tearing down the fabric upon which the industry was built. Do people like her even care that Floyd's children are denouncing all the violence that's erupted? Or that rioters in Richmond, VA set fire to a house with a child inside? Or that some of the rioters are even resorting to tactics used by the PLO, like molotov cocktails? Or, that 11 people, including civilians and police, were murdered by rioters? Doesn't sound that way.

Here's a few more samples of leftist comics contributors with dismal, one-sided things to say. For example, none other than Dan Slott:

Those "peaceful protestors" threw molotov cocktails, injured over 50 secret service agents, set fire to a White House guard station, trashed Gucci and Chanel stores in NYC, and Slott lectures us what to think and believe. This is disgusting, right down to his description of Trump as "bunker boy". Then, there's Kurt Busiek, the comics writer who went "woke" many years ago:

Only Trump is the issue, and not the rioters who caused all this nihilism sans altruism. What a disgrace. There's even at least one by artist Kevin Maguire:

Yup, more declarations of Republicans as the root of all evil. Keep going, please. Here's one by the artist/writer Jason Latour:

Be mindful that blacks have suffered just as much at the hands of these rioters as whites, Latinos and Asians have, Mr. Latour. Back in my native Philadelphia, a number of black-owned businesses were destroyed by the rioting. The black business community in Columbus, Ohio was also hit very hard by the mayhem. Minneapolis' black community was surely the first that suffered such damage too. Damage to black-owned businesses was also seen in Dallas. Where are voices like Latour's when it comes to that? And, seeing what artist Mahmud Asrar's posted:

He might want to consider this reminder from columnist Caroline Glick:

And that's why any comics creators supporting BLM are a disgrace. They look before they leap. They even ignored the vandals who trashed a synagogue in Los Angeles. IMO, they're enemies of Siegel, Shuster, Kirby and Lee, among others with Jewish ancestry. Here's another comment by Charles Soule:

Tell that to the rioters who flayed pedestrians within an inch of their lives, torched vehicles and worse, led to the deaths of other people. How is that justice? When you take a horrible situation to hopeless, it's not. It's just taking advantage of a tragedy for the sake of committing more violence. Those comics creators who can't grasp that are not dedicated to justice, and shouldn't even be working on any comic with justice and heroism as themes. Nor should they pretend they're concerned about specialty stores getting vandalized.

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Monday, June 01, 2020 

Diamond's chairman apparently wants to maintain a monopoly

ICV2 ran an interview with Steve Geppi of Diamond distribution a few weeks ago, talking about the business he's specialized in for many years, and almost from the get-go, he strongly indicates he sees nothing wrong with maintaining a competition-free monopoly on comics distribution:
ICv2: We'd like to ask about some of the decisions that were made early on, back in March, when things started to go south. Why did you shut down all of the Diamond and Alliance warehouses, when some of them theoretically could have continued to operate? Some were under shutdown orders, but they wouldn't have all had to be shut down at the same time. Why did you shut them all down?

Steve Geppi: Knowing the comic stores are very competitive, …we felt we had a fiduciary responsibility to keep the playing field level.

That's why it was upsetting when DC announced they were going to come out. We had already told DC there was only a maximum 20 percent of the customers open at the time, …and quite frankly, we got a lot of positive response, particularly from stores that knew they were going to be closed for a period of time, like California.

I'd use an analogy, and this may not be the best analogy. It's not all about speed of delivery. It's about content. If Netflix says tomorrow that the final episode of The Blacklist that everybody's waited for …they release on Netflix only in the Northeast, knowing that whoever watches it's going to spill the beans to everybody in the rest of the country. There's an element of that, but more so, the nature of got to have it, want it first.
It's not the best analogy. In fact, it's an awfully poor one. What is so wrong with competition, which, come to think of it, makes little sense from state to state? Even without the Coronavirus crisis and state lockdowns, it's not like the customers are going to travel for miles and spend so much money on gasoline just to reach another store, and end up paying loads extra in order to get the items they're looking for.
We felt like if we just opened in fractional areas (and keep in mind, it's a very small percentage we were hearing that were open), it wasn't worth opening that can of worms to piss off everybody else, and I think we made the right decision, because as it turns out, you've seen some of the letters, some of the accolades, "We'll stick with Diamond." I'm sure there's been some opposites to that, but we think (unless you tell me something I don't know), by and large, most people were happy to at least be on a level playing field, as opposed to behind.

Now, in the case of DC shipping three or four weeks worth of very small quantities… When they started shipping on April 27th, they had five books, three of which were second or third printings. The next week was seven, and then they said two and two. Over four weeks, only 16 books were coming out. When we re‑emerge on the 20th, we're going to catch up to DC's.

Marvel is actually going to start a week later. They're doing slow, a few periodicals, then a few graphic novels the next week, vice‑versa.

Long answer to your question, I'm sorry. We felt like it was the right thing to do. If we were guilty of anything at that time, it was the communication wasn't as rapid as it could have been. That was because we didn't quite know what was right at the point in time, so we had to rally around the flagpoles, get some input as best we could from retailers, and make a quick decision.

Fortunately, I think we made the right decision at the time. When we did our projections for resuming shipping for May 17th (or for the week of May 17th, shipping, arriving May 20th), it's almost looking like we had a crystal ball. That date's looking really good now, because A, we've confirmed it, and literally, within the last week, we were qualifying it. I would say things like, "Barring unforeseen occurrences," and that's technically still true, something could happen.

We're feeling pretty good now. We're bringing people back almost immediately to get ready. You can't bring them back the day of. That was the rationale that went into it.
Yeah, I'm sure they're feeling very good; in fact, very smug about any and all trouble they've caused with their monopoly on distribution. The whole notion any store would be instantly damaged because they couldn't or wouldn't deliver to them at the same time as others is laughable, as is his notion that all the stores had to be punished by not delivering at all. Competition isn't wrong. Monopolization of a profession most certainly is, and that's part of what's brought down an entire industry besides collapsing story merit. If they wanted to, Geppi's company could've held some supplies in reserve for stores facing more difficulties than others, and delivered them at a later date. The whole idea they couldn't ensure a decent deal for those who did have to close more time than others is laughable. And I doubt all the retailers were pleased either. Some might've been quite furious, with reason.

My eyebrows were also raised by the following:
[Marvel CEO] Ike Perlmutter was one of the first calls I made. The first words out of my mouth to Ike were, "Ike, you are going to get paid in full, but let me tell you how this going to work." He was the biggest call, because I figure if anybody's going to be tough, as you know, Ike's going to be tough.

He couldn't have been more accommodating, because he gets it. He understands, no matter who you are, I am sure Disney and other companies have similar issues. We did what we could. We relied on the fact that our history of paying our bills was impeccable.
Oh, I'm sure Perlmutter gets it. He may not be as influential as before, but if he's still working with at Marvel and Disney, he's as much a problem as Geppi himself. What he doubtless understands is - what else? - monopolies serve to his advantage. That's a most irritating thing about conglomerates. It's amazing if DC now wants to arrange for their wares to be distributed differently, considering Time Warner has many of the same problems as any other corporation, though that alone won't guarantee artistic merit will improve. Even Jim Lee's got some responsibility to shoulder here.

I went ahead to the third part of the interview, where he goes on to take potshots at DCBS:
You said early on in that answer that you thought Penguin Random House right now is prohibited by contract from selling to comic stores?

Right now, I would say by virtue of the notice we got saying that they broke our exclusive, the answer's twofold. Yes, they can, according to DC. No, they can't, according to us, because we have a 45‑day period that runs through May 31st that we are not pressing, because just like we weren't pressing the wrongful sales of Random House on reorders into the direct market, that would still be applicable now, because in giving us 60‑day notice, there's a 45‑day period of the exclusive that they have to honor.

We're into May. Let's call it ‑‑ what's today, May 10th? ‑‑ 20 days, 21 days left of our exclusive that is being violated, even by the other two distributors who just came on.

We're not rocking the boat, because I've been put in the awkward position of having to try to save DCBS and Midtown from themselves. What we were hearing, that at the last CBLDF board meeting, [DCBS CEO] Christina [Merkler] said, "This is temporary, and we're excited for Diamond to be shipping again on May 20th," whatever that means. In an interview recently, she said she doesn't know. Then she'll say, "We might also pick up new publishers."

DC says it's temporary. DC has preached to us forever that they want world‑class partners. Now, in our case, they were saying that. We can say to them now, "We have the biggest bank in the country; we have the biggest law firm in the world; and we have the biggest accounting firm in the country." We think we're first‑class. I daresay that's not true of the other two.
If he had anything to do with barring Penguin Books from doing distribution separately, I think that's wrong. It only compounds the image of this guy as a monopolist who thinks he's above critique or responsibility for any harm inflicted upon the industry he has no business representing. Funny thing is, under Dan DiDio, DC was preaching to the audience, and pretending they're incapable of any wrongdoing. Based on that, plus their lack of merit under his stewardship, it's hard to believe they ever wanted world class partners.
A big percentage of your periodical business, in Diamond's case, is based on final order cutoff. Retailers have a chance, fairly close to the ship date, to alter orders. On maybe 20 percent of the product that retailers buy, that's not the case. There's a huge amount of product in the pipe that maybe they don't need that much of, because the timing has changed, or some of their customers have dropped off, or they can't be open all the way. What are you going to do about all that product in the pipe for which you have orders that are theoretically set, but the retailers don't see?

In a lot of the cases, particularly Marvel and DC, we're an agency, so the inventory is theirs. If we sell 100,000 Superman, and they print 150,000, the 50,000 is not our liability. We have to store it and work it, take reorders, but that's not ours. In the buy‑sell case, it's more of a concern for Diamond, because if we get orders for 10,000 of a buy‑sell vendor, and order 11,000, not only do we have the 1,000 at risk but, like you said, if we have some attrition, we have that to worry about.

Marvel and DC have indicated that they are going to do some form of returnable during this pandemic period. It will be an effort for us during this transition to find out how to regulate these orders.
Regulation? That doesn't sound good to me. It's like controlling sales and where they go, or who's allowed to buy them. Not a good example, IMO. And when he gets around to discussing merchandise, he says:
That's not going to be an open ticket for the guy who tries to abuse the system either. We'll have to balance that. Just like if Marvel or DC decides to give us extra credit terms, which they talked about but haven't confirmed, for temporary purposes, we're still going to administer that judiciously, so in other words, a bad‑pay guy is a bad‑pay guy who has proven he's just a guy you can't trust. We're not going to go extend him beyond what we think is prudent. Whereas a good‑pay account who's always been good‑pay suddenly has problems, apart from what we would normally do anyway, we're going to try to take any relief we get from a publisher and extend it to them.
Look who's talking about abusing systems. Somebody monopolizing distribution. If some publishers are now looking for alternate forms of distribution, it's his own fault, because he did nothing to avoid creating an atmosphere where they'd all have their sales regulated, and no competition was allowed. So what does he expect? If there weren't stores and publishers before who felt the time had come when a better system was sorely needed, they'd be bound to turn up in the future. Diamond's decidedly past their prime, and it's time competition was brought about to ensure everyone gets a fair shake in the business.

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Someone at CBR owes Jack Kirby and Joe Simon an apology

CBR recently posted - and then quickly erased - a would-be op-ed (via Bounding Into Comics) declaring Steve Rogers "selfish". All this in a column that's made me decide I should consider linking to CBR articles through archive links only, based on how alarmingly selfish the columnist happens to be, and after reading the headline alone, I must conclude he's not a comics fan, not a Marvel fan, and definitely not a Kirby/Simon/Lee fan. The gross screed reads as follows:
Captain America is one of the most important characters in Marvel history, and without him, many of the great stories of the Marvel universe would not happen or wouldn’t be the same. He is central to the entire framework of Marvel’s storytelling, and Captain America is emblematic of justice, honesty and perseverance, making him the ultimate culmination of the American ideal; however, the decision for Steve Rogers to become Captain America is inherently selfish.

Steve was rejected from the military due to his small stature and health issues, but then his life changes when he is invited to join the super soldier program, which is how he becomes Captain America. However, when removing the context of what he would become, the decision is selfish. Rather than contribute in the ways best suited to him, Steve chooses to go under experimental treatments to artificially enhance himself. Steve’s choice to become Captain America is rooted in a fetishization of the hyper-masculine rather than an innate desire to do good for his country.
We have a problem of somebody lecturing us over a fictional character, as though he were a real life person. That's strike one. Strike two is insulting the creators and other writers/artists from the Golden Age to the turn of the century. Strike three is a muddled claim about what's best suited for Steve, not made better by what comes in the following paragraphs. Steve was characterized wanting to take up the physical power experiment in order to help aid war efforts, rout the nazi enemy and rescue innocents, and this fake fanboy implies it's nothing more than "toxic masculinity"? Truly repellent.
This is a bold claim against America’s golden boy, yet the context matters. Steve is initially someone unfit to serve on the frontlines. It is tough and hurtful, but it is the reality of the situation. If his concern was truly how he could best serve his country, he would accept his station in life and make the most of it.

He could have tried becoming a merchant marine, train as an officer or stay home and help with the production of war-time materials. All of these could contribute to the war like Steve supposedly wants to do, but that isn't good enough. Steve, in his eyes, has to be on the front lines.
But didn't he just say Steve was rejected from military service? What kind of mishmash is this anyway? The columnist fails to consider that patriotism was very high during WW2, and many who weren't qualified per se still wanted to serve the war efforts. Even on the front lines, in the trenches and the air. It wasn't just simply some "male power fantasy" when you risked your life out there in war-torn Europe and Africa, and chances were high the National Socialist minions would gun you down. Those who like the idea of power fantasy and wish fulfillment aren't hoping they'll get slaughtered, nor do they want the innocent people in need of rescue to be subject to the same. Yet this is what the phony fanbody is touting as "truth", when he's bound to be a leftist who can't handle real truths.
It’s understandable for a young man to want to prove himself to his peers and country, yet even if deep down his intentions are altruistic, the steps he takes to pursue those instincts are selfish. In Steve’s mind, there is only one way to contribute to the war, and that just happens to be the way he wants to contribute.
If that's what he believes, then the scientist who conceived the super-serum - and is just as fictional a character as Steve Rogers - must've been a total hypocrite.
Captain America is known for his altruism and his willingness to sacrifice everything for what he believes to be right, yet there is something selfish within that because Cap’s altruism is in what he believes and nothing else. Cap will fight against anyone who opposes his worldview, including his friends. Just look at the catastrophic violence that breaks out in the Civil War comic arc as well as its accompanying film. These events happen because Cap is uncompromising, and nothing will shake his worldview.
This is so muddled, I wouldn't know where to begin. If he won't compromise, that's one thing, but to fight his own friends over a busload of connecting issues in a story that once would've just taken 2-3 issues to wrap up, what's so altruistic or responsible about that? They only make it sound like he's still driven by selfishness through his "worldview". It gets worse:
"The requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences," Cap says in The Amazing Spider-Man: Civil War, story by J. Michael Straczynski and art by Ron Garney. "When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world -- 'No, YOU move.'" This quote would also be adapted in the film, with Sharon Carter saying it and inspiring Cap to stand his ground in regards to the Sokovia Accords.

This quote also highlights Cap’s tendency respond to things with violence. In fact, Cap is an impulsive person, and his first response to opposition is to beat it down. These aggressive impulses are hidden beneath a veneer of tough American grit and freedom fighting.
There's a subtle insult here, suggesting Steve's little more than a maniac who doesn't know how to keep his cool, or criticize the writers for questionable story directions. And again, all from a columnist who can't distinguish between fiction and reality. No mention how Straczynski used the aforementioned Spidey story as anti-war propaganda. He even has the gall to say:
This may seem like a condemnation, but it's not. After all, not everything Cap does is selfish, and not everything selfish he does is bad. If Cap hadn’t entered the super soldier program, there would have been no one to defeat the Red Skull during World War II. His unwavering commitment to freedom and privacy is also what uncovers Hydra's plot to take over SHIELD in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
He calls Steve "selfish" for volunteering in the super-serum experiment the government/military were working on, claiming he should've just stuck to the sidelines, and then expects us to forgive him by acknowledging what and why there should be a Captain America? Sorry, but his insistence on calling Steve "selfish" is just one more reason why this article crash lands with a deafening thud.
In Avengers: Endgame, it is also his instinct for aggression and desire for revenge that leads the remaining Avengers to hunt down Thanos and ultimately kill him. No one would argue these outcomes are bad; however, the underlying motive behind them isn’t as black and white as it may seem.
Maybe not, but this jumbled article sure is. Though I will say it's certainly odd when a movie's screenwriters are willing to do what the overseers of corporate-owned comics aren't, by killing off a villain. What it says is that, in movies, the baddies can be considered expendable, because the filmmakers don't expect the franchises to last forever (and of course some have run into the ground over time), whereas in the comics proper, due to lack of creativity, they're otherwise not, save for special circumstances. The end is where it becomes almost uproarious:
Psycho-analyzing a comic book character may seem trite, but there are good reasons to do so. For one, it makes Captain America more human. He is a fictional character, but he is also an important icon for many people, and he's the golden standard many fans want to live up to. Humanizing him may take the veneer away, but it makes the character, his actions and his consequences more real.

It also helps readers and moviegoers better understand Steve Rogers, in and out of the Captain America uniform, as a character. It is easy to write him off as an archetype of American machismo, but when fans try to understand why he makes the choices he does, he becomes that much more complex. Being a hero isn’t a black and white issue, and seeing Cap overcome selfish impulses for the greater good is far more rewarding than watching him be a do-gooder all the time.
Once again, Steve Rogers, and whoever else could wear the Cap uniform, are fictional characters, and psycho-analysis won't make them human. It's only the writing in the comics proper that does, and it was all ruined since the turn of the century, when the Marvel Knights imprint turned to Blame-America propaganda and 9-11 Trutherism (the first several issues were once reprinted under the title "The New Deal", and what a so-called deal it was with its apologia for Islamic terrorism. Ugh.). Which the columnist doubtless doesn't have a problem with. And look at that, after calling Cap "selfish", he suddenly has the alleged audacity to admit Steve's a fictional character! In that case, why all the obsession with calling him selfish? This is just more bewildering talk out of 10 sides of his mouth, while claiming Steve enrolled in the army for entirely selfish reasons. It's not hard to see why CBR decided to remove this article from their site proper. But it's already too late, they've clearly earned a lot of deserved flak for such an insulting article whose worst weapon is that it doesn't even mention Kirby, Simon, or Lee. That must be the advantage they see in tearing down classic creations. Don't mention the creators and other people behind the writing, and you'll be able to destroy all their hard work that much more effectively. It goes without saying the columnist owes Kirby/Simon/Lee an apology for desecrating all the hard work they did, instead of showing he's proud of them.

After checking this monstrosity, I've done some thinking, and that is it - if I'm to scrutinize further embarrassments published at CBR, then just like I've already done with their affiliated Screen Rant site, I'll only be linking to the articles through internet archive links whenever possible. No need to deliver traffic directly to their doorstep, as they clearly don't deserve it. They aren't, and never were, fans of the material they write about, nor do they have even the slightest respect for it.

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Sunday, May 31, 2020 

Why a satire but not a serious focus?

Boing-Boing interviewed Benjamin Marra, a cartoonist who's penned a new graphic novel called Terror Assaulter: One Man War on Terror that appears to be satirical work. He also addressed publishing formats along with the interviewer:
JK: I was thinking today that mainstream comics should be available in magazine size format at 100-page each, on slick paper, maybe for a $7.99US or $8.99US price point. Some could perhaps be printed on lower quality paper and offered at cheaper prices. And all could be distributed via comic shops, newsstands, and digitally, simultaneously. I’m thinking back to how popular the magazine format was in the 1970s and also of those great monthly Shonen Jump print anthologies I used to be able to pick up on late night trips to local supermarkets. What are your thoughts about formats and distribution of comics today, Ben?

Ben Marra: I agree with your vision of a comics magazine, except it should be printed on cheap paper to bring the cover price down as much as possible. It’s the stories that are important, not the paper stock. As far as my thoughts on distribution, I love the floppy monthly pamphlet as a vessel for serialized stories. But I think the Big Two have undermined its effectiveness with their business practices. I think the pamphlet comic should cost less and be found in as many retail spaces as possible. I guess I’m describing what it was like to buy comics back in the 70s and 80s. Maybe it’s foolish to think we can’t go back to that place. But I think there are subscription models that Chuck Forsman and Michel Fiffe have employed that are successful with a 24-page pamphlet comic. I don’t have blinders on for pamphlets however. Longform comics appear to be the future (if not present) of successful comics formats for distribution. And I’m all for webcomics. I’ve been doing a daily strip on my Instagram and I think it’s how I will create all my comics going forward. Any distribution method that doesn’t solely rely on the graces and professionalism of Diamond is a step in the right direction.
Printing on cheaper paper is fine, but I still don't see why some people think the serial format in its current incarnation has to remain that way. As I've argued at times, putting everything into one trade won't change that it's serial fiction by any stretch. And without good education and marketing, to say nothing of avoiding heavy handed politics, it certainly be foolish to think we could return to how comics were marketed for many decades. If anything, I definitely will be giving Marra credit for acknowledging Marvel and DC hurt the market with their practices. Especially if they're doing whatever they can to water down the effectiveness of independent publishers to get their products noticed more.

Let's turn to what he says about his new GN:
JK: Please tell me about TERROR ASSAULTER: O.M.W.O.T. In what ways is the narrative thematically conversant with power? What influenced the satirical elements, your story, and overall design of the comic?

Ben Marra: The book is a satire of American action movies and Neocon foreign policy. It’s also a satire of the way masculinity is portrayed and defined in pop culture. All of those things are based on examinations or demonstrations of power. So you could say O.M.W.O.T. is a satire of what power is, what it means. Obviously action movies were a huge influence on me when I created O.M.W.O.T. The title is obviously a nod to Jack Kirby’s OMAC comic book series. I love action movies but I love how ridiculous they can be even more, particularly those from the 80s. The overall design of the comic was influenced by classic comics and printing techniques from the 40s on through the 80s, before digital coloring became the standard. For me the goal was to tell an interesting, compelling, and entertaining story above all else.
It's one thing to write up a satire, but, what if it views masculinity in a negative manner? Just because it's satire doesn't mean it won't. The left has been pushing the notion of "toxic masculinity" for some time, and if this new GN draws from that whole notion, it's not setting a good example at all. Also, what if this turns out to be, not necessarily an attack on "neocons" (Bill Kristol for one is proving they're more an ally to leftists than rightists), but rather, an attack on conservatives in general? And, what if it doesn't run any serious look at how Islamic jihadism's destroyed many a country and society? What good does it do to write satires on serious issues like these, at least if they don't take a view recognizing the gravity of the subjects in real life?

Like I said, the cartoonist does make good enough points how the Big Two's approach to business has crippled the industry severely, but if he takes a leftist approach to the issues his new GN parodies, then he's hardly making an improvement over the Big Two from an artistic perspective.

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Saturday, May 30, 2020 

What Jimmy Palmiotti says about Trump supporters

Comics writer/artist Palmiotti said the following recently about supporters of Trump:

So, he's saying everyone supporting Trump is even more a robot than those you see in a sci-fi story? Sigh. It's pretty apparent where he's coming from, and if he fails to view Barack Obama and Joe Biden through an objective lens, he's got no business telling us he's "questioning authority". And no concern about Biden's offensive comments to the black community, or the accusations of sexual misconduct made against him of recent? Well, I guess that's saying something about Palmiotti's thinking if all he cares about is Trump. A real shame.

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Thursday, May 28, 2020 

Why bring back Henry Cavill as Superman if they won't make a solo film for him?

Deadline Hollywood says there's discussion at Warner Brothers to bring back Henry Cavill in his Man of Steel role, but no new solo movie in the works:
While there is not a Man of Steel sequel in the works, we’re hearing that Henry Cavill is in talks to reprise his role as Superman in the Warner Bros. DC Universe.

We hear Cavill could come back in a couple of different ways, not a standalone film, but there are plans to put him back in the big red cape again sources with knowledge tell us.
But what's the use of bringing him back as the Big Blue Boy Scout if he won't be the star of the show? It's been about 7 years since Cavill's movie came out, saddled as it most unfortunately was with a downbeat, dark-laden vision that didn't need to be, and in addition to that, the red tights were forcibly removed from Superman's costume design, which also took place in the comics, where the Justice League members were made to look more like plastic action figures. And when the red tights were brought back, it had to be with a bad writer assigned to take the job, Brian Bendis.

Variety followed up on this news with the following:
Snyder recently announced the long-rumored “Snyder Cut” of “Justice League” for HBO Max, though insiders tell Variety Cavill wouldn’t be suiting up for the director’s cut, but rather a cameo in one of DC’s upcoming films, which include “Aquaman 2,” “The Suicide Squad” and “The Batman.”

In a Mens’ Health’s December cover story, Cavill revealed he had not given up the role.

“The cape is still in the closet,” he said. “It’s still mine. I’m not going to sit quietly in the dark as all the stuff is going on. I’ve not given up the role. There’s a lot I have to give for Superman yet. A lot of storytelling to do. A lot of real, true depths to the honesty of the character I want to get into. I want to reflect the comic books. That’s important to me. There’s a lot of justice to be done for Superman. The status is: You’ll see.”
For a mere cameo in another character's film? What good is that? They're putting so many eggs into different cinematic baskets, but Superman remains an exception, in an era where optimism and joy are being cast as negative concepts. What's the most prominent film project now in the works, save for its delay from the Corona crisis? The umpteenth Batman entry, it seems. I don't have a problem with marketing Batman as part of entertainment, but I do have a problem with doing it at Superman's expense, to say nothing of what the Man of Steel was built on decades before. When it gets to the point where Batman's dark vision is promoted as what nearly all entertainment should be, with Batman as the poster boy, that's where it becomes reprehensible and exploitative.

On which note, when Cavill speaks of reflecting the Superman comics, does he mean he recognizes the legitimacy of optimism, humor and escapist entertainment as components? Who knows when his 2013 movie didn't exactly embrace those elements? A writer at SyFy earlier this month said his Superman movie deserved far better than what the finished product was like, and she's right. They did not need to go to such lengths to dampen the Man of Steel's brighter vision, and certainly not when most showbiz producers in liberal Hollywood aren't exactly dedicated to giving us a convincing vision of what the real world is like, or has become.

And 7 years on, one could argue Cavill's getting a bit old for the role, and with opportunities missed for a sequel early on, that's why it may not have much impact for him to appear in any new movie as the Man of Steel.

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Invisible Woman's bathing suit-like costume was not the worst thing the 90s could offer

CBR wrote a list of 10 worst moments from the 1990s. Some of the examples are certainly shoddy, like Magneto yanking Wolverine's adamantium skeleton out of his body, the Clone Saga, DC forcibly replacing anybody they thought could result in sale spikes, and the gimmicky covers for pamphlet issues, but I'm decidedly going to take issue with what they say about Sue Storm's costume from the early 90s:
Possibly the most horrifying of all the attempts that were made to copy the Image style was Invisible Woman's costume change. Sue Storm Richards, the mother of Marvel Comics, had always been drawn to be attractive, but this new costume that was little more than a bathing suit was too much for readers.

Along with the bare legs and midriff, Invisible Woman's new costume, for reasons no one can really give a good explanation for, had a "boob window". Here was one of the most respected female characters in all of comics, one who had never been pushed as a sex symbol before, and suddenly she was wearing a costume that looked like it was taken out of Vampirella's closet.
Seriously, Sue was never touted as a sex symbol before? I dispute that, and while it may not be the most perfect design of its sort, I most definitely dispute the notion Sue's outfit of the time was "horrifying". What's more, look who's talking about "respect" when they've never defended the Marvel universe from all the terrible steps Joe Quesada and Axel Alonso inflicted upon it in nearly 2 decades. Where were the people writing PC-advocating articles like these when Mary Jane Watson was still kicked to the curb? If they've never called for putting a stop to those who would destroy the MCU for the sake of their petty politics, they have no business lecturing us. And coming from Vampirella's closet?!? It doesn't even look close.

Also, notice how the picture they featured was a combination of 3 images from different issues. The way it's set up, the first one confusingly makes it look like Sue told the gang she doesn't want to hear a word about her new costume. Umm, that scene was from shortly after her son Franklin Richards went into the future during 1993, and came back at least a decade older. Sue just couldn't bring herself to accept, and that's what the scene was all about. (And Franklin, if it matters, was back to his kiddie self by the end of the original volume in 1996, before they made a mess of everything with the Heroes Reborn controversy.) How strange they didn't see fit to comment on a certain somebody wearing a helmet in the background, namely, The Thing, at a time when he got his face accidentally damaged by Wolverine in FF #374, and took to masking his head for about 30 more issues until it healed. Why doesn't that warrant some commentary? If Sue had suffered such a fate, would that be overlookable by contrast?

IMO, it sounds like this dopey list was written by somebody who didn't have what it takes to say Sue looked hot in that outfit. Or wish he had a wife who could say, dress in a bikini and be the beauty he's proud to have married. That seems to be what today's would-be college graduates have come down to. Instead of having the courage to say you think a girl looks hot in a bikini, we're being taught to tiptoe around everything in shame. We can probably guess what the columnist thought of the Marvel Swimsuit Specials too, for that matter, 2 of them being edited by a woman (Bobbie Chase) notwithstanding.

The bottom line: it may not have been the best costume design Invisible Woman ever had in her Fantastic Four history, but it's not the worst either, and certainly not worse than a horror thriller like Friday the 13th or Nightmare on Elm Street. All this anti-sex propaganda being spread around is unhelpful, and makes all who take that position look jelly-spined.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2020 

The comics that needn't be read this summer

Polygon's predictably recommending the kind of comic series that just don't serve the industry's reputation well, let alone their shared universes. They also reveal, interestingly enough:
Ant-Man #4: Marvel Comics has unexpectedly announced that some of its existing series would switch to being released digitally, and they include some stuff that’s really been delighting our comics editor, like Zeb Wells and Dylan Burnett’s Ant-Man. The comics will still see print, but only in collected editions later this year.
When they "delight" the staffers of such a pretentious website, I'm sure that's a sign it's better avoided. That aside, this is certainly telling something if they're going to release a number of items in digital format only, and it includes the following too:
Ghost-Spider #9: Seanan McGuire’s series about the adventures of the Gwen Stacy who is the spider-hero of her own parallel earth returns in digital only.
I wonder why, years after Gwen Stacy, famous for being terminated by the Green Goblin in 1973, was rubbed out, she's suddenly become the focus of alternate universe takes on the character? I recall there were times in the past where animators balked at making any serious use of Gwen in the 90s Spider-Man cartoons because her death alone was considered a discouraging element to modern kiddie audiences. Now, after all these years, Marvel for one has no problem doing alternate universe takes on the girl? Well that's certainly odd.

Here's another item Polygon's recommending in a category that should give pause to those who realize what's gone wrong with the genre:
Wonder Woman: Tempest Tossed: DC Comics’ schedule of YA graphic novels was undisturbed by comics’ coronavirus shutdown, and Wonder Woman: Tempest Tossed looks to be a good bet. Writer Laurie Halse Anderson (a big deal in the YA book world) and artist Leila del Duca (co-creator of one of Polygon’s best comics of 2017) tell a teen Wonder Woman story on Themyscira.
Those "best" choices of 3 years ago include a GN titled "My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness", a book spotlighting Midnight and Apollo from the Authority, and even some Tom King embarrassments. So, we know that's about how much you can believe such a crummy site's contributors. Who also recommended:
You Brought Me the Ocean: This YA graphic novel from DC gives queer YA writer Alex Sanchez and artist-behind-Blue Is the Warmest Color Julie Maroh a crack at crafting Aqualad’s coming out story. We’ll even have a preview for you later this week!
I'd mentioned that before, and, like I said, this is just about how much you can trust these phonies on their recommendations. There's also this:
Something is Killing the Children Vol. 1: James Tynion IV may be making waves on Batman, but there’s something else the writer does very well: queer teens and horror. Grab the first arc of his latest, with artist Werther Dell’edera, from Boom! Studios.
What are the odds the horror-meisters in the story proper are stand-ins for conservatives? Probably pretty high. The site even brings up another crossover from DC, sequel to an earlier one:
Dark Nights: Death Metal #1: Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo return to the death metal rock opera vibe for a sequel to 2017’s outrageous Dark Nights: Metal event. This time, Wonder Woman and the entire Justice League star.
I've said before, company wide crossovers are only proving detrimental in the long run, and this is no different. Oh, and look what else turns up here:
Strange Adventures #2: Tom King and Mitch Gerads’ latest, with Doc Shaner along for the ride, had just kicked off when the shutdown hit, and we’d been looking forward to seeing more of it. At least now we only have to wait for June.
Doomsday Clock Part 2: Been waiting for the trade to catch the end of Geoff Johns and Gary Frank’s Watchmen/DC Universe crossover? Wait no longer.
Guess what? I haven't supported Johns' writings for years, so it's not even a matter of waiting, because I'm practically boycotting his work. I've said before and will again, Johns has proven one of the worst things that could happen to DC, and Marvel, since he did at least a handful of stories for them in the early 2000s. And speaking of Marvel, they predictably cite one of their planned crossovers:
Empyre #0: Avengers: Marvel’s 2020 summer event — an all out war with the Kree and Skrulls on one side and the Avengers and Fantastic Four on the other — finally starts to hit shelves in June, nearly two months after it was originally scheduled.
And we're just supposed to believe it's worth it at face value? Nope. Here's another crossover:
DCeased: Dead Planet #1 — From the writer who brought you the absurdly good tie-in comics for the Injustice: Gods Among Us DC Comics fighting game, we got DCeased, a comic about the entire DC Universe succumbing to zombie plague. Now DCeased has a sequel, and its first issue hits shelves in July.
Oh, the video game where Superman goes berserk and Lois Lane is killed? I think we can figure out just how dedicated this site really is to respecting the creations who've become the focus of all the wrong stories. There may be some good news, however:
Lois Lane #12: Greg Rucka and Mike Perkins close out their Lois Lane series, and we’ll be sad to see it go.
With the way Rucka exploited Lois for his leftist politics, that's why I won't be sad if it's been canned at all. Besides, wasn't Rucka one of the writers who willingly took part in launching Infinite Crisis with the Countdown prequel that saw Blue Beetle scrubbed by Max Lord? One of the most atrociously overrated writers since the turn of the century. And then, there's another crossover coming from DC:
Batman: The Joker War: DC has confirmed to Polygon that crossover event Batman: The Joker War will kick off sometime in mid-to-late July, with Batman #95, though a date has yet to be set in stone.
Yes, you read that right. More Joker spotlighting, in a franchise that's been way overemphasized, often at Superman's expense (and assigning Brian Bendis to oversee the Man of Steel's made everything worse). Say, and look at who's writing the following:
The Dreaming: Waking Hours #1: DC Comics has confirmed to Polygon that The Dreaming: Waking Hours, the next incarnation of the recently concluded Sandman Universe series, will kick off sometime in August. The new story comes from writer G. Willow Wilson (Ms. Marvel, Wonder Woman) and artist Nick Robles, who will be introducing at least one new character to the Sandman Universe, Ruin, and bringing back an old one: William Shakespeare.
And after all the damage Wilson's done to mainstream, it'd be better to avoid this story too. It's bound to be nothing Shakespeare would consider a masterpiece.

As usual, Polygon recommends and sugarcoats all the wrong books and stories. Such a joke of a site. These aren't books worth spending summer pastime with.

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About me

  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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